US imposes sanctions on Putin’s oligarch allies

Washington (AFP) – The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on seven Russian oligarchs accused of supporting and profiting from President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to undermine western democracies.

Senior US officials described the wealthy international businessmen as members of Putin’s “inner circle”.

“The United States is taking these actions in response to the totality of the Russian government’s ongoing and increasingly brazen pattern of malign activity across the world,” one official said.

Those hit by sanctions include aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, described as operating for the Russian government, as well as Alexei Miller, director of state-owned energy giant Gazprom.